"Dish TV has already approached Star and Sony for providing
their content/channels to its DTH platform. We sincerely hope that
in the spirit of (interconnect) regulations, they will respond positively
within a period of 30 days, as provided in the notification vied
clause 3.6 of the regulation," Essel Group vice-chairman Jawahar
Goel said today.
Essel Group is the omnibus entity under which Chandra carries out
his various business ventures.
Asked by indiantelevision.com whether Dish TV expects Star
and Sony to be overtly co-operative, Goel hinted that legal recourse
would be taken if regulations were not followed by others.
"It's too early to say, but in the worst case scenario, we
would have no other option, but to move TDSAT (industry disputes
redressal tribunal)," Goel explained.
Indian pubcaster Doordarshan and Zee Telefilms have been in the
forefront, lobbying for a must-provide regime, which would make
their DTH services that much more attractive. Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh is slated to inaugurate DD's DTH service on 16 December.
Contacted by indiantelevision.com, Star India CEO Peter
Mukerjea, who is away to Hong Kong, said over phone that Dish TV's
request is an old one and Star would study Trai recommendations
further before taking a stand on the issue. SET India chief executive
officer Kunal Dasgupta had this to offer, "If it is non-discriminatory,
there is no problem."
Hailing the Trai initiative as a revolutionary one, Goel said that
the regulator has rightfully recognised the need for a 'must provide'
regime and this regulation would "promote competition in the
broadcasting and distribution sector and shall provide a genuine
choice to the consumers."
According to clause 3.2 of the Trai notification, every broadcaster
shall provide on request signals of its TV Channels on nondiscriminatory
terms to all distributors of TV channels, which may include, but
be not limited to a cable operator, director to home operator, multi
system operators, head end in the sky operator. On request, multi
system operators shall re-transmit signals received from a broadcaster
on a nondiscriminatory basis to cable operators.
In its interconnect regulations, Trai has stated, "In India,
competition for delivery of TV channels is not only to be promoted
within the cable industry, but also from distributors of TV channels
using other media like DTH and headends in the sky. It is important
that all these distribution platforms are promoted so that they
provide consumers with choice."
"The DTH services have to compete with Cable TV. If a popular
content is available on cable TV and not on the DTH platform, then
it would not be able to effectively give competition to the cable
networks. Moreover if a popular content is available on the cable
network and is not available on the DTH platform, it would never
be able to give an effective alternative to the cable services.
Competition between cable and DTH will be enhanced if all the content
is available on both platforms."
Essel Group promoted Dish TV is India's first DTH service provider
offering close to 100 television channels spread across different
genres of programming. Dish TV started operations in October, 2003
and claims approximately 170,000 subscribers across India.